I don’t keep too many container plants due to their need for additional watering, but these are the few that I started along my gardening path.
I have two rustic wood barrel planters that I purchased in hopes to transplant rose bushes that were previously planted in the backyard when we moved in. Sadly, they did not make it and I decided to plant something else in them. In one, I have Gaura lindheimeri ‘Whirling Butterflies’ and Dichondra argentea ‘Silver Falls’. Last year the Gaura stayed small, but was a constant bloomer especially in it’s first year in the garden. This year it has grown fuller and taller; it even produced a small off shoot that is slowly growing alongside the mother plant. Gaura’s don’t always make it through freezing winters, but perhaps the potting soil provided just the right drainage to keep this heat and drought tolerant perennial going strong. Long stems boast 3″ lanceolate leaves with maroon spots and topped with pink buds, turning to white blooms. ‘Whirling Butterflies’ suites the plant well! Gaura is native to Texas and Louisiana and is best planted in full sun, hardiness zones 5-9. It tolerates dry soil, perfect for container gardening. Gaura is also a taprooted plant meaning the roots go deep into the soil making it more difficult for transplanting, yet allowing it to gain moisture from deeper sources. Gaura can grown 3′-5′ high and 1′-2′ wide; a large planter is suggested.
Around the Gaura I planted Dichondra which filled the space nicely and produced a spilling effect all around the planter. With a hardiness zone of 10-12, I did not expect it to survive the winter. During the freeze it dried up so I pruned them all to the base at winter’s end. Some strands pulled right out of the soil by spring. Surprisingly, it has come back and produced various sprouts! It’s growing fast and should fill itself nicely by summer. Dichondra spreads 3-4′ and looks best when allowed to spill downwards from tall planters or hanging planters. Another great heat and drought tolerant plant that pairs nicely with Gaura lindheimeri.
In the second wooden barrel planter I have a Citrosa Scented Geranium and Lemon Thyme. Last year I purchased two Scented Geraniums labeled as “Mosquito Plant” to test out the mosquito repelling theory for the covered porch…they will NOT repel mosquitoes! I have crushed the leaves on my skin with better success in repelling the little buggers. They grew very large and took up the majority of the container! Alongside it I had Hawaiian Blue Eyes, which did not make it through the winter. In fact, only one of the Scented Geraniums came through this spring as they are considered tender perennials, so I removed the other from the planter. I will cover the planter this winter in hopes of saving this one 🙂 I recently planted the Lemon Thyme to fill the space and to pair the two citrus smelling plants together.
The Scented Geranium is also known as Garden Geranium, and not a true Geranium. They come in various scents including apple, mint, lemon, strawberry, and more! The foliage is crinkled along the edges and bright green, growing up to 2 feet tall. They do easily scorch in our Texas Heat so afternoon shade would probably treat them better. My garden geranium did not bloom last year, but hoping I see a few purple flowers this year.
Lemon Thyme smells wonderful, is super cute, and great for cooking! Lemon Thyme needs full sun, well draining soil, and is hardy in zones 7-9. This little plant is low growing and shrub-like with woody stems. The leaves can also be crushed on your skin as a mosquito repellent! I snip a stem and rub/roll it along my arms as the leaves themselves are teeny-tiny.
Everyone loves succulents! They are are so versatile and people have come up with so many cute ideas from terrariums, to recycled tin can planters, to even magnetic cork planters! This is only my second year with succulents and I’m just now testing out propagating from leaves, maybe a second post, if it’s successful… Currently I have two piggy planters with succulents, I’m not sure what kind, but If you can identify them please let me know! The bright green one may be Ogon Sedum.
Found it so amazing how the succulent in the image above, Ogon Sedum, has propagated on it’s own to the ground below the planter. I have found other spots in the garden where this succulent has found new homes.
I also have, what I believe is a Echeveria elegans, but it suffered winter damage. I actually threw it out, into a bucket where I throw my pruned stems, but noticed new growth coming from the sides. It was out of soil for weeks! I removed the remaining frost bitten leaves then replanted into a small container. Can’t wait to see how it pulls through.
Under the shade, I have a terracotta planter where I put random plants. The tall leaves are unknown, growing from small bulbs that I found in my artemisia bed when tilling the soil. Last year they did not flower and I’m not really sure what they will do this year. I also have a couple of Impatiens growing that were leftover from planting them in the front yard bed, along with a single Dusty Miller. A great way to brighten a shady spot.
Finally, my latest additions, planters of Lemon Balm and Chocolate Mint. Both of which I read can be very invasive; Lemon balm through seed and Mint through runners. Lemon Balm is part of the mint family, so their look is very similar. It can grow up to 36″ in height and can be used in teas, salads, or to season chicken and fish. Lemon Balm is evergreen in zones 9-11, so I’ll be sure to cover or move the planter in during freezing temps this winter. Chocolate Mint on the other hand, is a perennial hardy in zones 3-11, growing 24″ high and wide. The mint is probably my most demanding of water and during these nice spring temps, I’m watering every 2 days. I’m not much of a baker, so I won’t be using chocolate mint often, but it will make a nice Chocolate Mint Mojito for the upcoming summer days!
This is who I met this morning, while I was sitting on my porch, drinking a cup of coffee…